When there is discussion on the greatest women’s soccer players in NEC history, Kelly Shimmin is one name everyone can agree on.
Central Connecticut was already a dominant program when she arrived in New Britain back in 2001. But it was Shimmin who helped propel CCSU to even greater heights and a lofty status in the NEC that the Blue Devils still enjoy to this day.
Perhaps the finest in a long line of English imports at CCSU, Shimmin arrived from her native Liverpool in 2001 and immediately made an impact. She led the Blue Devils to three straight NEC titles from 2002-04 as CCSU became the first, and to this day, only school to “three-peat” in women’s soccer. In 2003, Shimmin helped lead the Blue Devils to their winningest season with 16 victories and scored the game-winning goal in a landmark victory over Boston College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It marked the first NCAA tournament win in both CCSU and NEC history. During her time in New Britain, CCSU posted a 48-27-7 record.
Shimmin is one of only three players in conference history to earn back-to-back NEC Player of the Year honors, doing so in the 2002 and 2003 seasons when she led the league in scoring. A three-time first team All-NEC honoree from 2002-04, Shimmin was also tabbed the 2002 NEC Tournament MVP. She was twice named All-New England, earned NSCAA first team All-Region honors in 2003 and was the MVP of the NEWISA Senior Bowl following the conclusion of her CCSU playing career.
Shimmin ranks second all-time at CCSU in points (108), goals (40) and assists (28). She still holds the school record for single-season assists (16 in 2003), and ranks second in single-season points (38 in 2003) and goals (15 in 2002).
Shimmin, who went on to earn her Master’s Degree at CCSU in 2007, remained in the area and has enjoyed a successful coaching career at Hartford. She is in her seventh season with the Hawks where she serves as Associate Head Coach.
“Kelly Shimmin was a complete player,” said longtime CCSU head coach Mick D’Arcy. “She created some unbelievable magic with the ball at her feet, had an incredible first touch and was tenacious in defense too. I have never seen another college player who could control a game the way Kelly could. At times it seemed that she could score at will and she was just as happy setting up someone one else to score. She played the game with a smile on her face and made the players around her better. In spite of all the personal accolades she remained humble and was totally dedicated to the success of the team.”
“When I first met Kelly I thought, ‘O.K., now this is a soccer player,’” said C.J. Jones, former CCSU Director of Athletics. “Then when I saw her play there was no question that not only was she a player, but a great soccer player and difference maker for the Blue Devils. Clearly she became and still is one of the best to ever play at Central Connecticut and in the Northeast Conference. This is a great honor that is both earned and well deserved.”